Pandora.com Website Review

I hate the radio.
What is there to like? Commercials? Know-it-all DJ's? Overplayed songs? The latter is pretty great if you love Coldplay or are a brain-dead pop fan. I am neither. The only pop I like is soda pop. The radio isn't the first place people go for music when working on their computer. Most people listen to their iTunes library. But where do you go when you've heard your songs over and over? Get your hand off that FM dial. You're only going to hear about the latest car sale from Toupe's Auto Gallery. No thanks.
Welcome – Pandora.com. A free (key word) online radio site that lets you customize your own radio station. No traffic updates, no awful jingles, none of that.
The site is easy enough to maneuver. It immediately asks you to input a band or song. From that selection it creates your personal station. It first makes you log in and create a password for your personal account (Don't be alarmed, it's still free). For my station I put “Muse” as the band. The station immediately played a Muse song. That was followed by a Radiohead song and a White Stripes song, and so on.
Hearing many of the songs I was irritated (being an elitist) that it played well-known songs and artists. I went into Pandora looking for new artists and was not pleased. Though as it turns out, if the listener is patient (unlike me) they will hear less mainstream artists the longer they go.
Another positive of Pandora is the feature that allows you to mix up your own radio station. My Muse station was getting a little on the “heavy side” (What I think everytime I look in the mirror). Pandora lets you add bands if you “add variety” to a station. My station became Muse spliced in with light bands in the vein of “Travis.” If you mix those ingredients, unfortunately you end up with Coldplay. If you haven't noticed; not a big fan.
Let's go over the Pros:
Free – Oh have I mentioned that already?
Exposure to new bands – Eventually after filtering through mainstream fluff. It allows you to bookmark songs and artists that appeal to you.
Displays the Artist, Album, Song, and Album cover – good for visual learners such as myself.
Mind Reading – I'm not even lying to you. After enough time with your station, you will come to find that it knows your taste exactly. It knows my favorite food, favorite movie, and my Pin number. Odd but true.
It lets you skip songs – Say you are tired of hearing “Viva La Vida” for the 19th time. You can skip it. Or to go one better, it gives you the option to thumbs up or thumbs down a song. It doesn't necessarily mean it will never play the song again, but it helps Pandora to get to know your tastes/secret desires a little more. Also, you can click “don't play this for a month.” It's one of my favorite features. I can't wait to push it on the same song next month.
You can't skip repeatedly – You are only allowed so many skips an hour. Fickle people go elsewhere.
Commercial backdrops slow down the load time in between songs every once in a while.
It takes patience to get to the good stuff – Buddha
All in all, Pandora.com is a great way to find new music. For those rich and trendy iPhone users, you can download a Pandora radio widget for portable use. My next experiment on Pandora, to see what she gives me when I mix Menudo with Ratt.
Four sand stars out of five.


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